A Worthington teacher has been granted a leave of absence to serve as vice president of the state teachers' union, and at least two school board members are not pleased with the arrangement.
Scott DiMauro, a social studies teacher at Worthington Kilbourne High School, has been elected to a three-year term as vice president of the Ohio Education Association.
The position is a full-time job, which will take him out of the classroom and into the OEA office in downtown Columbus.
The Worthington Board of Education voted unanimously Aug. 12 to grant him a one-year, effectively unpaid leave.
But board members Julie Keegan and Jennifer Best said they voted for the agreement only because legal counsel said they had no choice.
A provision requiring the district to allow a teacher to take a leave of absence to serve as an officer in the OEA is written into the contract between the board and the Worthington Education Association. The board has no choice but to follow the provision of the contract, Keegan and Best said.
DiMauro will continue to receive his Worthington salary and benefits while working for the OEA, with the understanding that the district will be reimbursed entirely.
According to district spokeswoman Vicki Gnesda, DiMauro will receive a salary of $91,571 plus a stipend-like salary of $32,174, for a total salary of $123,745. The value of benefits, including STRS, employer portion of Medicare and life insurance, totals $19,202, for a total value of $142,947.
By continuing to pay his STRS, the district ensures that DiMauro would not lose the seniority that affects the amount of retirement benefits for which he would be eligible. He also will eceive raises that are part of the teachers' contract.
Keegan said her objection is philosophical, not financial. No other school employee is eligible for such an extended leave of absence, she said.
The fact that she and other board members were not aware of the provision in the contract shows that the contract has become so long and detailed that it is virtually impossible to read and comprehend, she said.
The leave covers one year of DiMauro's three-year term.
The agreement probably will return for extensions in the next two years but could become a negotiating point, Keegan said.
DeMauro has a website: scottdimauro.com. Under the title, "Why I am Running for OEA Vice President," he said he is "inspired by you and all the members and students we serve across Ohio. Our victory in the SB 5 campaign demonstrated the great power we have as a collective body to stop bad ideas from becoming law, but it reminds us of our ongoing responsibility to protect and promote great public schools for every student."